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BOOK III.

ON THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF

CHRISTIANITY.

CHAP. I.

On the Consistency of Scripture with itself and

with contemporary Authorship.

1. It is not at all times possible to obtain a precise adjustment between the actual state of things in nature, and the definitions of our own astificial philosophy. There are often certain rebellious and intractable phenomena, which do not fully and properly belong either to one division or another; and, just from the impossibility of an exact classification, we fail in our attempts, completely to accommodate our schemes of universal science to the scheme of the existent universe. The line of demarcation between cognate subjects and cognate sciences, is often obscured by things of a common or ambiguous character, which partially belong to each, but fully belong to neither. Thus, for example, there are certain anomalies which serve to obliterate somewhat the distinction between the animal and the vegetable kingdom. Thus too, there is a midway—a debateable ground between

the sciences of chemistry and natural philosophy. There are many other instances which might be specified-all serving to show that it is not by an immediate transition that we ass from one branch of philosophy to another. There is what painters would call a shading off between them. They do not pass instanter into each other by lines, the mathematical definition of which is length without breadth. But they melt into each other by stripes or margins of separation, across which intermediate boundary, the colour or character of the one region gradually dies away, till it fully emerges into the distinct colour and character of the other region.

2. What has suggested these observations is, that, in attempting to distinguish the internal from the external evidences of Christianity, we perceive the same sort of hazy undefined border between them, that there is between so many of the other contiguous provinces of human thought. The two kinds of evidence, in fact, run very much into each other. If it be meant of the external evidences for the truth of the Bible, that they are such as are gathered from places without the book, and of the internal that they are gathered from places within the book, it will be found of its largest and strongest evidence, that it comes not properly or fully under either the one head or the other.

We scarcely know of any evidence purely external, but that which lies in the testimonies of writers not scriptural, to the existence and the authority and the early date and the reputed writers of scripture. And we scarcely know of any evidence purely internal, but that which is founded on the consistency

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